Sunday, March 30, 2008

Finding Safer Produce

Ever since Pumpkin started eating solids, we have been trying to eat organic foods as much as is possible, or as much as makes sense.  If the organic produce is available in our grocery store and it doesn't look like it is half-rotten, which unfortunately it often is at Kroger, I try to go organic.  We have a new grocery chain which opened up up a store nearby.  This store doesn't offer a huge amount of organic produce, but it does offer a lot of more locally grown produce and it also has a great store line of other organic products.  Hopefully, I'm not just wasting money but when I look at the ingredients on the organic line of products, I at least recognize the ingredients and do not need to pull out a Periodic Table to try to decipher what chemicals have been added.  Another benefit of the new store is that they have spurred Kroger to start prominently selling reusable grocery bags in our local store, which I have purchased, and I find them to be not only a greener solution but also much easier to use because they are sturdier and hold more than your traditional plastic bags.

If you are concerned about the pesticides in the produce you are buying, you may want to check out the Pesticide Produce Guide which lists which items are most likely to have large amounts of pesticides found in or on them.  I found a reference to it on a blog post on Green Mom Finds, which discusses the many eco-friendly and safer products that are becoming available. 

We're trying to live greener here at the Pumpkin Patch, though we have a long way to go.  We do not have curbside recycling in our community here, as we did in our previous city, so we have fallen off the recycling wagon.  However, we have purchased bins for recycling and we need to start soon since we want to set a good example for Pumpkin.  I'll post about it when we start so hopefully my guilt from letting you all know that we're not currently recycling will spur me to start now.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Motherhood, or How to Accessorize Your Outfit with Pee Stains

So you want to know the truth about motherhood?  You want to know about the nights when three hours sounds like a good amount of sleep?  The days where taking the time to shower feels like an accomplishment on par with climbing Mt. Everest?  The daily discussions about poop?  You want to hear about the day when you reach the conclusion that it is ok to leave the house with your son's pee on your shirt?  Ok, then here it is, the unvarnished truth.

You will come to learn that you really can function on practically no sleep for months at a time.  The toll may be harder for your husband to take; at one point in the early months of your son's life, your husband will wake you up by scooping his hands underneath your back as if he was going to pick you up.  When you ask him what he is doing, he will respond, "I'm going to burp you" as if burping his thirty-one year old wife in the middle of the night is the most natural act in the world.

If you experience nursing difficulties, you will feel as if it is your soul, not just your milk, that you are pumping out of your breasts every couple of hours.  You will feel like a failure because your son will not or cannot nurse from your breast.  You will feel like you are harming your child for life because you have to supplement with formula after replacing your breast pump motor three times in as many months and you are still not able to pump out enough milk to meet your son's demand.  You will have daily breastfeeding obsessive ramblings discussions with your husband to try to determine why you cannot make nursing work.  After six months, you will pack up the breast pump and finally realize that your son is thriving, even on formula, and that you are not a failure as a mom because you could not make it work.

You will obsess about every illness he experiences, every new study that comes out, every baby product you buy and every milestone he reaches.

If you choose to go back to work, even just on a part-time basis, your heart will break a little each day when you leave his life in someone else's hands for the day.

You will cheer his every accomplishment: his first smile, his first tooth, his first laugh, his first steps.  You will think that he is the most amazing being ever created.  You will be right about that.

You will love him with a love beyond anything you could ever imagine.  You will know in the deepest part of your soul that you would do anything to keep him safe from harm.

And the most important truth of all: you really would not want your life any other way.

Now go listen to some other moms (we all love to give our pearls of wisdom...)


I finally have the requisite spaghetti covered baby picture of Pumpkin.  pumpkin_spaghetti_1 I made some homemade meat sauce for him the other night and it was the first time he had long pasta noodles so of course he had it everywhere!  Even after his bath that night, he still had orange-stained cheeks.  It was so cute, it was worth the painstaking effort of cleaning up the high chair seat...

He's still only eating with his hands but as you can tell from this picture, he is at least starting to figure out what the spoon is actually supposed to do...


He has been in a much better mood this past week.  His seventh tooth cut through last night (with I think one to three additional teeth getting ready to follow) and he also seems to be past his latest cold.  I had been somewhat freaking out because he had been very irritable for several days following his vaccinations so of course, I had been worrying about whether or not he was going to have long-term effects from the shots.  Of course, who wouldn't be cranky after 4 shots, a cold and multiple teeth cutting through their gums??  I know I'm not the only mom who worries about these things, but sometimes I do wish that we didn't have quite so much information at our disposal.  Believe me, I can come up with quite enough things to worry about Pumpkin on my own without reading the latest and greatest scientific study!

Take Me to Vegas, Baby...

I was lucky to win not once, but twice through 5 Minutes for Mom's Ultimate Blog party giveaways.  I've been on a winning streak recently.  A couple of months ago, I won tickets to a jazz concert (the concert was rescheduled so I haven't actually attended it yet).  Prior to that, I believe the last time I had won something was in elementary school when I won a drawing from Hills department store.  I was able to take my pick of from that week's Top Ten records (yes, I mean the vinyl kind).  I picked Tina Turner's Private Dancer album.  Yes, I was hip.  It could have been much, much worse considering that my first concert was Milli Vanilli which I attended with my dad, just to make the occasion that much cooler.  To give my dad credit, he endured it without complaint (or at least without complaining too much...he did just recently reminisce about the ringing in his ears that he experienced for days after that concert).

Not only have I been winning more often these days, but I have also been winning much more desirable items as well.  First, from Karen Neuburger I won a very cute camisole and panty set.  KN_dayware The cotton is extremely soft and the cut is very cute, without feeling too skimpy.

I also won a gift certificate offered by The Downtown Boutique to use at Ambrosia Delights, a home-based business specializing in homemade jewelry and boutique clothing.  I chose a pretty crystal and bead bracelet...ambrosia

Thanks to Karen Neuburger and The Downtown Boutique/Ambrosia Delights!  Both vendors were very responsive and the shipping was quick and easy...

The way my luck has been running, I guess I'd better go out and buy a lottery ticket!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

One Year Check-Up

Pumpkin had his one year check-up yesterday.  He "passed" with flying colors.  I received a B+ since I have not fully weaned him off of the bottle yet and as of yesterday, I was still giving him formula instead of regular milk.  He is on whole milk now and seems to love the flavor of it.  We're down to two or three bottles a day, but this morning we cut out his morning bottle and went straight to a solid breakfast and boy, was Pumpkin ticked off about that!  He was frowning and making protest sounds and pouts throughout breakfast.

The stats:  21 lbs 10 oz in weight, 29 inches long and a head size of 18 1/4 inches (there is a reason I've been referring to him as Pumpkin!)  After starting out at 5 lbs 2 oz, he plumped up to a little butterball around 4 or 5 months but now he's just a lean, yet solid, kid.  As usual, Pumpkin became sullen and angry as soon as we headed back to the exam room and it took two of us to contain him long enough to get his temperature (which he willingly submits to at home).  Of course, I can't blame him since immediately after we were called back, he had his finger pricked for bloodwork for the first time and then got to finish with four shots.  Unfortunately, our normal and favorite nurse, was not there and while the nurse we had was nice, she was EXTREMELY slow in giving the shots.  She would take the cap off of one, give him the shot while slowly depressing the plunger, stick on a Band-Aid and repeat, repeat, repeat.  Our favorite nurse gets all of the shots prepped and ready, then sticks them in one after another so quickly that she's finished before Pumpkin and I even have a chance to react.

I was nervous about the MMR shot as well as the rest of his vaccines, especially after the recent federal government ruling, but our pediatrician, who has four kids of his own, strongly recommended keeping on schedule.  He feels that the rise in autism is due to some environmental factor and he wishes that more research was being done to test for those types of issues, instead of the vaccines. 

As with every other parenting issues nowadays, it seems that we're bombarded with not only a huge amount of information, but also a great deal of conflicting information, which causes so many of us to overanalyze and worry about almost every parenting decision we make.  Luckily, it seems like most kids turn out pretty well in spite of us!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

And a Great Orator Was Born...

That's right, Pumpkin said his first word!  Of course it was "mama" (see, those hours of practicing were not wasted!) 

He had been saying "mama" or "mamamamama" for a while now but never in a context where I felt like he was actually talking about me.  However, on Sunday he was playing with Daddy and saw me walk down the hall and into another room.  He started crawling down the hall looking for me and very distinctly said "mama!" 

The next day, I picked him up out of his crib after his now normal non-nap (the morning nap is apparently rather passé now...) and laid him down on the bed for a diaper change.  He was sweetly holding the sides of my face when he again said "mama." just melts my heart!

Pumpkin is One Year Old!

This past Friday was Pumpkin’s one year birthday. It is so hard to believe that an entire year has passed since our little buddy came into our lives. He has changed so much; sometimes I look at him and do not even see a little baby anymore, just a true little boy. He has grown from a 5 lb 2 oz little “peanut” to a bouncing 22+ pound rough and tumble boy.

We decided to go with a puppy dog theme for the party since nothing brings a smile to that boy’s face faster than either our real dog, Ms. Beagle, or a picture of a dog in one of his books. I found puppy plates, puppy napkins, a puppy hanging mobile, puppy tablecloth, puppy party blowers, and puppy streamers. After spending a small fortune at the party store, I think next year I’ll just buy a few strategic party items and get the rest in coordinating colors at Walmart.

My mom made a carrot cake with cream cheese icing and I decorated it with a puppy dog (which turned out pretty well considering I usually tear off the entire top layer of a cake just trying to ice it). Boy, did that child enjoy his cake…

At first, Pumpkin seemed a little overwhelmed by all of the attention but he quickly warmed up to the party and as usual was completely captivated by his seven year old cousin. Pumpkin received a lot of great gifts from family; but true to form, one of his favorite gifts was a Baby Plays Peek-a-boo book. Pumpkin’s in-town grandparents were in attendance as well as one set of his out-of-town grandparents. The other set will celebrate a second birthday get-together with us in a few weeks. Two sets of aunts and uncles were also here for the celebration. After a raucous evening of birthday fun, he was wiped out and in bed by 7:15 PM (about half an hour after his normal bedtime). The next day he was a WEE BIT grumpy, but we all know what it feels like to have partied just a bit too hard the night before, right?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Another Reason I Hate Spiders

Last night, my husband and Ms. Beagle spent the evening at the emergency animal hospital. We came home from work and found Ms. Beagle sprouting hives across her back. She had silver dollar size lumps underneath her fur that seemed to worsen over the next hour, so my husband drove her to the after-hours vet hospital, all the way across town. They gave her Benadryl and told him that most likely she was either bitten by a spider or ate a spider. This morning the hives made a reappearance so we’ve been giving her with Benadryl throughout the day. Tonight she gets a bath (she’s really going to regret that spider appetizer). Amazingly, despite her discomfort, she was still able to stand guard at the edge of the drop cloth we have under Pumpkin’s high chair, waiting for any choice morsel to fall to the ground. What they say about beagles is true, if you ever see a beagle that passes up food run to the nearest vet because something is drastically wrong with that dog. As I’ve expressed before, food is of utmost importance to Ms. Beagle.

Who Says You Don’t Have a Social Life After Children?

After years of bemoaning the fact that my 7 year old nephew boasted a busier social calendar than I did, I’m happy to say that I’m going to a party! That’s right, it’s a blog party hosted by 5MinutesForMom. So before I head over there, let me welcome you to my digs.

I’m part-time software developer, full-time wife and overtime mom to a beautiful baby boy who I like to call Pumpkin. Hard to believe but he’s getting ready to turn one this Friday! I am pretty new to blogging but I hope you’ll drop back by for another visit soon. I love being a mom and started blogging after I realized how much I benefited from visiting other mommyblogs; it’s nice to know that others share your concerns, your hopes and your neuroses!

Working part-time, I straddle the divide between the stay-at-home moms and the work-outside-the-home moms so I get the joys and struggles of both sides…day care, time management struggles, playgroups, etc. So come back for another visit and I’ll share with you my experiences as I try to figure out this whole mommy-thing! Leave me a comment and let me know how you balance everything in your extremely busy life as a mom. After that, let’s party-hop!

Ultimate Blog Party 2008

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

It’s Never Too Early to Read

My husband and I are avid readers so we both really want to encourage little Pumpkin to love books as well. As a child, nothing was better than when I received a book as a gift. Actually, that is still the case with me today. To try to encourage the same love in Pumpkin, I’ve been reading to him since he was a newborn. I had to do a bit of convincing to get my husband onboard with reading that early, but he eventually came around. I think the turning point was when we finally “smarted up” and started a bedtime routine with Pumpkin. For some reason, we both thought a consistent bedtime routine was just parenting hype. However, after about three months of not having more than about three or four hours of sleep a night; I was willing to try anything. I had to cajole and persuade my husband to give it a try; however, he finally relented and quickly became a fervent believer in the bedtime routine. We started giving Pumpkin a nightly bath, a bottle and then reading two bedtime books to him: The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton and Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. The rhythm of the reading seemed to soothe and calm him and bedtimes quickly became a quick and painless endeavor. Ok, there was a little more to the sleeping success story than that (earlier bedtime, better napping) and true success (a real night’s sleep for us all) did not come until a few months later but a quick and painless bedtime was an early and much needed victory. As he got older, he definitely came to recognize the specific books we read to him at night; in fact, he would start to fuss if he was tired and we tried to read him any other story first.

Today, the child loves books. All I have to do is sit in the chair in the nursery and ask Pumpkin if he wants to read a book. Pumpkin will get an intense look on his face and race-crawl his way across the room to me, all the while making his trademark grunting noise that he makes when he just cannot get someplace fast enough. When he reaches me, he frantically sticks his arms up in the air, signaling me to pick him up and place him on my lap. We then settle in for a good read. He definitely has his favorites: any books with flaps or tabs that he can lift or pull. Any book with a focus on puppy dogs is a hit as well. Other favorites include Bear Snores On, The Big Red Barn, and Peekaboo on the Farm. Ladies and gentlemen, I think we have a reader!!

A Strong Stance Against ONLINE SHOUTING!!

I guess Pumpkin feels rather strongly about the overuse of the all-caps phenomenon which equates to online shouting. Admit it, you hate it to when SOMEONE WRITES IN ALL CAPS FOR EXTRA EMPHASIS AND THE READER FEELS AS IF SOMEONE IS YELLING AT THEM!! Apparently, he feels so strongly about it that he felt the need to completely rip the Caps Lock key off of our laptop, breaking the tab that holds the cover on the key to insure that reattachment was impossible. The kid knows how to make a point...

Walking! (well, he did it once…)

After a rather long hiatus, I am renewing my effort to blog on a more regular basis. So I would like to start with my most important and exciting news: Pumpkin walked! It actually happened a couple of weeks ago (he was eleven months and one week old at the time). We were out my parents’ house and I was trying to show them how well Pumpkin could stand on his own for a few seconds at a time. I stood him up and slowly moved my hands off of his torso and then he…walked to my mom. He went about two or three steps and did it very matter-of-factly as if he had done it many times before. I was in shock and so excited (and to be honest, rather nervous since our house is STILL not completely baby-proofed). It must be something about them or that house since my nephew also took his first steps there. Of course, when you find a woman who gives you toys every time you see her, who wouldn’t want to walk to her?? He has refused to take any steps since then; in fact, anytime I try to stand him up in front of me to practice, he goes limp-legged and refuses to even stand. He is still standing and cruising along the furniture but as we have often learned in the past, Pumpkin is not our trained monkey and will do what he pleases, when he pleases, thank you very much.